Deuteronomy 18

Offerings for Priests and Levites

1 The Levitical priests—indeed, the whole tribe of Levi—are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings presented to the LORD, for that is their inheritance.
2 They shall have no inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the LORD is their inheritance, as he promised them.
3 This is the share due the priests from the people who sacrifice a bull or a sheep: the shoulder, the internal organs and the meat from the head.
4 You are to give them the firstfruits of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep,
5 for the LORD your God has chosen them and their descendants out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the LORD’s name always.
6 If a Levite moves from one of your towns anywhere in Israel where he is living, and comes in all earnestness to the place the LORD will choose,
7 he may minister in the name of the LORD his God like all his fellow Levites who serve there in the presence of the LORD.
8 He is to share equally in their benefits, even though he has received money from the sale of family possessions.

Occult Practices

9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.
10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,
11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.
13 You must be blameless before the LORD your God.

The Prophet

14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so.
15 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.
16 For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”
17 The LORD said to me: “What they say is good.
18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.
19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.
20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”
21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?”
22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.

Deuteronomy 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

A provision respecting Levites. (1-8) The abominations of the Canaanites to be avoided. (9-14) Christ the great Prophet. (15-22)

Verses 1-8 Care is taken that the priests entangle not themselves with the affairs of this life, nor enrich themselves with the wealth of this world; they have better things to mind. Care is likewise taken that they want not the comforts and conveniences of this life. The people must provide for them. He that has the benefit of solemn religious assemblies, ought to give help for the comfortable support of those that minister in such assemblies.

Verses 9-14 Was it possible that a people so blessed with Divine institutions, should ever be in any danger of making those their teachers whom God had made their captives? They were in danger; therefore, after many like cautions, they are charged not to do after the abominations of the nations of Canaan. All reckoning of lucky or unlucky days, all charms for diseases, all amulets or spells to prevent evil, fortune-telling, &c. are here forbidden. These are so wicked as to be a chief cause of the rooting out of the Canaanites. It is amazing to think that there should be any pretenders of this kind in such a land, and day of light, as we live in. They are mere impostors who blind and cheat their followers.

Verses 15-22 It is here promised concerning Christ, that there should come a Prophet, great above all the prophets; by whom God would make known himself and his will to the children of men, more fully and clearly than he had ever done before. He is the Light of the world, ( John 8:12 ) . He is the World by whom God speaks to us, ( John 1:1 , Hebrews 1:2 ) . In his birth he should be one of their nation. In his resurrection he should be raised up at Jerusalem, and from thence his doctrine should go forth to all the world. Thus God, having raised up his Son Christ Jesus, sent him to bless us. He should be like unto Moses, only above him. This prophet is come, even JESUS; and is "He that should come," and we are to look for no other. The view of God which he gives, will not terrify or overwhelm, but encourages us. He speaks with fatherly affection and Divine authority united. Whoever refuses to listen to Jesus Christ, shall find it is at his peril; the same that is the Prophet is to be his Judge, ( John 12:48 ) . Woe then to those who refuse to hearken to His voice, to accept His salvation, or yield obedience to His sway! But happy they who trust in Him, and obey Him. He will lead them in the paths of safety and peace, until He brings them to the land of perfect light, purity, and happiness. Here is a caution against false prophets. It highly concerns us to have a right touchstone wherewith to try the word we hear, that we may know what that word is which the Lord has not spoken. Whatever is against the plain sense of the written word, or which gives countenance or encouragement to sin, we may be sure is not that which the Lord has spoken.

Cross References 41

  • 1. Jeremiah 33:18,21
  • 2. S Numbers 18:8
  • 3. S Numbers 18:20; Deuteronomy 10:9; 1 Corinthians 9:13
  • 4. Numbers 18:20
  • 5. Joshua 13:14
  • 6. S Exodus 29:27
  • 7. S Leviticus 1:5
  • 8. Leviticus 7:28-34; Numbers 18:12
  • 9. Exodus 22:29; Numbers 18:12
  • 10. S Exodus 28:1
  • 11. Deuteronomy 10:8
  • 12. S Exodus 29:9
  • 13. S Numbers 35:2-3; S Deuteronomy 12:5
  • 14. ver 19; 1 Kings 18:32; 1 Kings 22:16; Psalms 118:26
  • 15. Numbers 18:24; 2 Chronicles 31:4; Nehemiah 12:44,47; Nehemiah 13:12
  • 16. Deuteronomy 9:5; Deuteronomy 12:29-31
  • 17. S Leviticus 18:3; 2 Kings 21:2; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 2 Chronicles 33:2; 2 Chronicles 34:33; Ezra 6:21; Ezra 9:11; Jeremiah 44:4
  • 18. S Leviticus 18:21
  • 19. Deuteronomy 12:31; 1 Samuel 15:23
  • 20. S Exodus 7:11
  • 21. S Leviticus 19:31
  • 22. Isaiah 47:9
  • 23. S Exodus 22:18; S 1 Samuel 28:13
  • 24. S Leviticus 18:24; Deuteronomy 9:4
  • 25. S Genesis 6:9; Psalms 119:1
  • 26. Matthew 5:48
  • 27. 2 Kings 21:6
  • 28. S Matthew 21:11; Luke 2:25-35; John 1:21; Acts 3:22*; Acts 7:37*
  • 29. S Exodus 20:19; Deuteronomy 5:23-27
  • 30. S Genesis 20:7
  • 31. Isaiah 2:3; Isaiah 26:8; Isaiah 51:4; Micah 4:2; Isaiah 51:16; John 17:8
  • 32. S Exodus 4:12
  • 33. John 4:25-26; John 8:28; John 12:49-50; S John 14:24; Acts 3:22*
  • 34. S Exodus 23:21
  • 35. S ver 7; S Leviticus 19:12; 2 Kings 2:24
  • 36. Joshua 22:23; Acts 3:23*; Hebrews 12:25
  • 37. S Exodus 23:13; Jeremiah 14:14
  • 38. Deuteronomy 13:1-5; S Deuteronomy 17:12
  • 39. S Deuteronomy 13:2; 1 Samuel 3:20
  • 40. 1 Kings 22:28; Jeremiah 28:9
  • 41. ver 20

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of the provision made for the priests and Levites, with the reason of it, De 18:1-5, of allowance of a country Levite to minister at Jerusalem, and take his portion with the rest, De 18:6-8, and of several persons of bad practices not to be suffered among the people of Israel, De 18:9-14, and of an extraordinary prophet that should be raised up among them, to whom they should hearken, or it would be the worse for them, De 18:15-19, but a false prophet was to be put to death, of whom a sign is given by which he might be known, De 18:20-22.

Deuteronomy 18 Commentaries

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